Trading LeBron James could fix the Lakers, says Jeff Van Gundy
Lavish red wine must have spewed from LeBron’s mouth upon hearing this exchange:
Jeff Van Gundy: I think in the offseason, they [Lakers] need to rebuild this roster, right? And to me, it could be a trade for an Anthony Davis, or I think they need to explore trading LeBron for getting as much as they can.
Mark Jackson: What are you doing, seriously? No, seriously, what are you doing?
Van Gundy: You’ve got to get on the right timeline. I’m going to say, if I could trade him for the Clippers into cap space, which would give me a better chance to get Durant or Kawhi Leonard, would I not do that?
Jackson: OK, LeBron James is not getting traded. OK?
Van Gundy: You’ve got to put everything on the table.
Jackson: No, you can’t.
That was a back-and-forth during Saturday night’s clash between LeBron James’ Lakers and Kyrie Irving’s Celtics. Boston, of course, routed Los Angeles, 120-107, another showing for the Association’s other 28 teams to bask in Schadenfreude.
In theory, trading The King, while seemingly not plausible, is possible. LeBron’s four-year, $153.3 million terms neglect no-trade clauses, and Wayne Gretzky proved long ago no one is untouchable.
That “trading LeBron” even appear together is just indicative of how the state of the Lakers has soured since his arrival last summer, the team now finding itself 30-36 and seven games back of the eighth seed after failing to trade half the roster for Anthony Davis.
LeBron, who has missed spurts with a nagging groin injury and reportedly agreed to a minutes restriction moving forward, is still putting up LeBron-esque numbers (though he warrants a push on defense).
But it’s almost certain he won’t be headed to the playoffs for the first time since Steph Curry looked like this, in 2004-05.
All considered, it’s likely most basketball minds, Kobe Bryant zealots included, would shun such a proposition.